Jesus uses much about the pastoral and agricultural lifestyle of Israel in His parables and analogies. Much of their wealth and well-being is based on their vineyards and olive gardens. Here, Jesus says, “I am the vine.” The vine is the sustainer; without the vine there is no fruit. The vine is the livelihood of the family business. Jesus is described as the cornerstone. It is the same principle. He is the foundation of our faith, of our life.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.”
Jesus said to abide in Him. To abide is to dwell. It is surrendering to God. Put your trust in Him. Jesus says He is our friend. He showed us His love by giving His life for us, His friends. By obeying His words we can become closer to Him and we can grow. We can bear much fruit. Others will know we are His disciples by our obedience; by our love. As we abide in Christ, we can bear fruit. Bearing fruit is doing God’s work. As we grow in Christ, we share the grace that God has given to us. We share the love of Christ to others, not only in word but in deed.
1 Corinthians 3:9-15
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
As in this scripture, fire represents purification. God works through us through various trials. The Holy Spirit works in our lives so that others will see our fruit. As we walk in the Spirit, being obedient to God, following His will, our fruit will show.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Another aspect of branches being burned is that those who do not believe will not be part of the vine. They will be cut off and cast in the fire. In this case it is not about purification. It is hell fire. He gives every chance to be declared righteous by trusting in Him. Jesus loves us so much that He died for us and offers salvation and eternal life to all. Israel is God’s chosen people. But the promise to Abraham was that all the nations would be blessed. The Jews rejected Jesus, but God offered salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike. Paul talked about how unbelieving Jews were cut off from the promise (though the offer is still there for any to turn to Him) so that the Gentiles can be part of the kingdom.
You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
What a wonderful God we have! God made every effort to allow us to become children of God. He gave us an everlasting covenant that all those, Jew and Gentile alike, every tribe, every nation, that all those who believe and trust in the One and Only Son of God, Jesus Christ, will have eternal life.